Despite the 6th district is a cool and interesting zone of central Budapest, it is somehow an eternal second one. It's the second most popular touristic and residential district after the fifth district on the Pest side. Many real estate agent declare that this is the second most required district of home seekers. When it comes to nightlife it also have the second rank after District 7 where the old Jewish quarter earned the title of the "party district".
Nowadays people may wonder when they hear that District 6 had an own pub quarter sooner: the surrounding area of the Pest Broadway became a pub and bar neighborhood even before the current party quarter started to blossom. The Nagymező street was its main street before the extremely popular ruin pub and night life spot, Instant moved away. The parallel Jókai street was the second most important pub lane. Till today both of the streets lost several pubs and bars, so did their crossing streets.
Don’t get me wrong there are still many ones but compared to the past or compared to District 7, the second rank is understandable. Let's see some exciting example of the current pub range of Jókai street!
Edison Bar & Ink - Let's get drunk tattoo!
(The Edison Bar & Ink photos were taken by Russell Skidmore)
Honestly, how many different services have we seen already mating with a bar feature? Let’s start with evergreen classics: bar&café, bar&restaurant, bar&video games and get to such already achieved extreme cases like the bar&bike rental, bar&laundry. Bar is slut, she makes it with everyone. Why not with a tattoo studio?
Always wanted a tattoo but never had the guts? In that vision alcohol would help to make the decision and face the pain, wouldn't? This is the point. When a bar is combined with a tattoo studio you are maybe just one strong drink away from surprise yourself with the main attraction.
Edison Bar&Ink was founded in January 2017. It was named after the innovator because he was also the one who invented the first tattoo machine of the world. His posthumous bar can already seduce you from the street with its friendly brown wooden portal and the rare duo of the above mentioned services. In order to save the unstable ones from a regretted hangover tattoo they are only open until 10:00PM.
Edison welcomes you with a likable interior. The unusual mixtures keep go on even in this matter. Even thought there are some well known elements of the current pub trends we can’t just pass by the highlights of the design like the big and spectacular blue gramophone which was bought by a guests as a Christmas present
or just the basic color mash-up of grey and brown that almost no other pub combines, although it can look this attractive:
You can seat at the bar too but there are tables for medium companies (4-6 people) aside. The chairs are a bit though but the atmosphere and the drinks help you to adapt them: you can order from 12 different beer taps of up to date selection. They may have already the premier beer of last week and sometimes they personally organize the premier or a tap take over of a popular brewery.
I talked to Johnny, one of the three owners who moved here from the UK. The three guys, the English, the Hungarian and the American met here in the neighborhood. Their group photo can be seen as an eye-catching wall tattoo painting above the stairs.
Johnys background story is simple: he used to work in bars and had tattoos and one day he just woke up with the idea of uniting his two favorites things: good craft beers and good tattoos and after doing so why not adding also good caffe and good liquors and spirits? They even have craft cider from a native British cider master, Keith who produces cider in Hungary (ask for Mad Dog!).
Only the food is missing but it is already on the way. Johny didn’t tell more but also in this matter he wants to do something special that is not characteristic in the area. The second yet to be conquered sphere is the world of the signature cocktails.
Sometimes they have also stand up comedy night or acoustic musical events, downstairs on the „Narnia” level.
Mostly recommended for: Up to date craft beers, beers and tattoo together, great selection of other drinks: for example craft cider, specialty coffee
Not recommended for: cheap beer, when you hate tattoos, pub food (yet)
A Matiné that lasts till dawn
Quite close to Edison a smaller, recently re-opened pub (November 2017) is to be found. It is called Matiné.
The origin of the word is French and refers to an early performance in a cinema or in a theater. The size and the layout of Matiné seem to match the unwritten requirements of a stamping ground type of pub. It is a bit dark, also a bit colorful. And colorful in all possible meanings: you can see on the door that it is a safe zone for "LGBTQ" people but this doesn’t mean that they want to be a definite gay bar, rather a bar to anyone – said by Krisztián, the new owner.
There are two levels: the bar is situated on the ground floor with many bar chairs and three tables aside. Upstairs it is more comfy with lot of sofas. This upper rooms still keep the design of the former owner and represent comic figures like SpongeBob, Winnie the Pooh and crew or Mickey Mouse.
During the way there was a makeover when the former management changed some decorations to more abstract wall- or ceiling graphics. Krisztián wants to return partly to the roots and represent the film industry in his bar and not only by comics but also by movie related wall decors. His first work can be seen already: a film roll framed photo collection of the bar scenes.
Some tables also keep showing the comic style, literally because they contain comic scenes, so the walls of the toilets.
There is table service in the bar. You can order beers from 2 taps (Dreher beers. Arany Ászok – basic lager is for 290 HUF) and 9-10 more in bottle. Wine menu is under construction. 0,1L of the default white wine is for 240 HUF. There are no small shots - only 4cl – The cheapest is the Royal vodka for 470 HUF. They are most proud of the house signature “Matiné” cocktails and the rainbow shots for a company. The last one comes also with a spectacular serving, it is worth to order once.
As pub food they have grill sandwiches but they are still looking for the right one. There are no pub sports or jukebox available. All the specialties are here event based: karaoke nights and rapid dates. But the greatest specialty of all is that they have the permission to stay open till 3:00AM and this is very rare in the area.
Extra: Student discounts. The second level is ready for reservations for bigger private parties like birthdays.
Mostly recommended for: longest open bar in the area, karaoke, if you are looking for an LGBTQ friendly place
Not recommended for: craft beers, pub foods (yet), if you are against sexual subcultures
Crazy Café - A semi-secret resort of 100 beer types
Sometimes residential building cellars in Budapest hide a whole secret universe. But behind one definite cellar door in the Jókai street there are even two separated micro universes to explore: the Dzsungel Étterem (=Jungle Restaurant) and the Crazy Café:
Lets examine the second one that suits our profile more! You may think too with the classification café added to the name that the second installment could be only a sidekick of the restaurant. But no, Crazy Café is a surprisingly individual place but fortunate to us it has more to do with alcohol than with coffee. Not that they don’t offer coffees but considering how crazy many beers they have (ca. 100 different types) and also wines and liquors I would rather highlight the alcohol feature. There are bottled beers from at least 13 countries and also five beer taps.
There is a receptionist who you face first after your enter. If you confess that you came here only to drink you will be guided to the right, into Crazy Café. It is literally sort of crazy looking. We have seen crazier, of course. This is just a colorful, pleasant atmosphere with soft lights. Big bulbs are hanging down from colorful wires and the logo of the place is also a crazy face that shows up on every single meter in a different size, form and color.
If you come here even for one drink you will get a bucket of popcorn but you have to care about the cinema for yourself. This is something odd anyways.
The chairs and the benches at the wall are comfy - originally four people can gather around them but the staff pushes the tables together for you if you are in need. The lower tables backwards are originally suitable for more people.
Crazy Café is open till midnight on weekdays and till 1:00AM on Friday and Saturday.
Good news is if you feel like eating - you can order from the restaurant menu which will be also served in the bar - and Dzsungel Restaurant is a popular place to eat in Budapest.
Wines are available from 11 wine regions, partly in glass by glass format, some other trademarks only in bottled versions. We can state that the entire drinking menu contains friendly price to the level and the area. Despite all this, Crazy Café is not an always crowded mainstream spot where you have to fight for your table with big group of students, tourists or freelancers. It is genarally not visited by anyone without being a smug lounge.
Mostly recommended for: Lot beers with a friendlier price than usual. You can order food from the partner restaurant to your tables.
Not recommended for: pub sports, overnighting, the newest trendiest craft beers of last week’s premier
The bars of these posts are also available on the Apartments of Budapest feat. Pubtourist map: